Your immune system builds up a tolerance to the allergens, causing your allergy symptoms to diminish over time. Most people don't have much trouble with allergy shots. But they contain the substances that cause your allergies — so reactions are possible, and can include:.
If you get weekly or monthly shots on a regular schedule without missing doses, you're less likely to have a serious reaction. Taking an antihistamine medication before getting your allergy shot can reduce the risk of a reaction, particularly a local reaction. Check with your doctor to see if this is recommended for you. The possibility of a severe reaction is scary — but you won't be on your own. You'll be observed in the doctor's office for 30 minutes after each shot, when the most serious reactions usually occur.
If you have a severe reaction after you leave, return to your doctor's office or go to the nearest emergency room. Administer epinephrine if recommended by your physician. Before starting a course of allergy shots, your doctor will use a skin test or blood test to determine that your reactions are caused by an allergy — and which specific allergens cause your signs and symptoms. During a skin test, a small amount of the suspected allergen is scratched into your skin and the area is then observed for about 15 minutes.
Swelling and redness indicate an allergy to the substance. When you go in for allergy shots, let the nurses or doctors know if you are feeling unwell in any way. This is especially important if you have asthma. Also let them know if you had any symptoms after a previous allergy shot. In some cases the buildup phase is done more quickly rush immunotherapy , which requires several injections of increasing doses during each doctor visit. This can decrease the amount of time you need to reach the maintenance phase and get relief from allergy symptoms, but it also increases your risk of having a severe reaction.
You will need to remain in the doctor's office for 30 minutes after each shot, in case you have a reaction. Allergy symptoms won't stop overnight. They usually improve during the first year of treatment, but the most noticeable improvement often happens during the second year. By the third year, most people are desensitized to the allergens contained in the shots — and no longer have significant allergic reactions to those substances.
After a few years of successful treatment, some people don't have significant allergy problems even after allergy shots are stopped. Other people need ongoing shots to keep symptoms under control. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Some give it to their allergic patients as an initial therapy. Some refuse to give steroid injections for seasonal allergies altogether.
Most physicians, however, reserve it for cases of severe allergies that are unresponsive to pills or sprays. Doctors frequently use steroid shots for severe asthma, so why not for severe seasonal allergies? Perhaps it is because asthma can be life-threatening, whereas seasonal allergies "only" make one miserable. Some doctors think that the shot is too potentially dangerous for an illness that is "only" unpleasant.
In almost 30 years of medical practice, though, I have seen very few bad reactions or serious side effects that were definitively caused by a single even annual long-acting steroid injection for allergies or asthma.
Cases of severe hip joint degeneration, possibly from a steroid shot, had other possible causes, such as alcoholism or prolonged six months or more continuous steroid use. Steroid shots can cause high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, but these can usually be addressed by more frequent blood sugar testing and medication dose adjustments.
Other side effects include swelling, anxiety, insomnia, mania and depression, which, in rare instances, can be dangerous. One strategy might be to use a short-acting steroid to assess the potential side effects. If well-tolerated, a longer-acting steroid shot might be indicated. Steroid injections for seasonal allergies are controversial and should be discussed with your doctor.
Ideally, you know and agree with your doctor's philosophy of medical practice, and your doctor knows you, your medical history, and how to balance the benefits and risks of a steroid injection for you. Health Topics Services Health Coverage. Published by Contra Costa Times.
Like the steroid shots, steroid nasal sprays also work to reduce inflammation. There is a risk of having an adverse reaction to a steroid shot, and Dr. Wada says she typically doesn't use steroid shots in her practice. Lee also says that she doesn't usually recommend steroid shots because absorption is unpredictable, and there is an inability to adjust the dosage if side effects do occur. Over-the-counter preventative medications should always be your first move, says Dr. If you do have a need for this treatment, Dr.
Wada suggests scheduling an appointment with a board certified allergist-immunologist to develop an individualized treatment plan with both safety and efficacy in mind. There is still a risk of side effects when using steroid-free immunotherapy shots, but reactions are typically a lot more minor.
Lee says about steroid-free allergy shots. The sad truth: You can't get rid of allergies. All you can really do is suppress them or slowly acclimate to them via immunotherapy shots , says Dr. The best route is to start using steroid nasal sprays or oral allergy relief medicines before allergy season starts—at least two weeks in advance, says Dr.
If you don't feel relief from that, then it might be time to consider immunotherapy shots. If none of those options work for you, then and only then should you turn to steroid shots. And if that's what you decide to do, make sure you limit them to one or two shots max, per year. The bottom line : Steroid shots work, but they should be your last resort for allergy relief. It's best to try OTC medicines, steroid nasal sprays, or immunotherapy shots first.
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Related Story. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. The majority of people who take steroid injections experience little to no side effects. While they may feel a little uncomfortable while taking the injection, that is only temporary.
The most common side effect of steroid injections is joint pain or flare-up around the area of the injection. However, this only lasts a little over 24 hours, and simple painkillers like paracetamol are effective in stopping the pain. The risk of side effects also depends greatly on the strength of the steroid injection you took, as lighter mixtures tend to leave no side effects.
Potential side effects also depend greatly on where the steroid injection is taken. For instance, injections into the spine, muscle, or joints often include temporary pain and discomfort, temporary bruising or blood clotting, pale skin where the injection was taken, increase blood sugar levels, and so on. On rare occasions, steroid injections in the spine could lead to an infection, headaches, swelling, redness, and pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your doctor and seek medical advice immediately.
Epidural injections can also cause painful headaches. Although this will probably leave on its own, you should contact medical personnel for help. Lying down will also help in curbing these headaches. Side effects of steroid injections given directly into the bloodstream tend to vary from little things like mood changes, increase in appetite, difficulty in sleeping, and so on.
People with high blood pressure, diabetes, or high blood sugar levels are at risk when taking steroid injections, as steroid injections tend to cause an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar. Your doctor will discuss with you if it is still safe for you to get the steroid injection. If you happen to take steroid injections regularly over short periods, you may have to worry about other side effects including weight gain, hair loss, acne, etc.
If you have any worries concerning any of the side effects or the process of taking the steroid injections, please discuss with your doctor or any verified medical personnel. Steroid injections may not be the best option for everyone. It is important to inform your doctor, or the medical personnel administering the injection if;. Steroid injections can be a key part of a treatment plan for many autoimmune and joint conditions.
Depending on your conditions, the doctor may give you your steroid injection along with other anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs. Overall, it is recommended that you have no more than 3 to 4 steroid injections per year. The exact number can be determined by your doctor, after an examination of your body and your medical condition. Why Do People Take Steroid Injections Steroid injections are used by medical professionals to treat various types of injuries and medical conditions.
They are also great in helping to reduce swelling and redness around the joints. How Are Steroid Injections Taken? Depending on the purpose of the injection, there are several different ways steroids can be injected; Directly into a joint this is referred to as intra-articular injection Into a muscle intramuscular injection Directly into the blood intravenous injection Into the soft tissue located close to the joint peri-articular injection Into the spine epidural injection Into a bursae these are fluid-filled sacs located between some joints and tendons Steroid injections could also be administered through the veins intravenously.
Side Effects and Health Risks of Steroid Injections The majority of people who take steroid injections experience little to no side effects. Some common side effects of steroid injections include; Changes in the color of the skin or thinning at the injection site Temporarily flushed face Loss of fat around the area of injection Pain around the area of injection this could range from minor pain to more intense pain.